How Much Does it Cost to Climb Kilimanjaro? (Check This)

Tristan Balme How much does climbing kilimanjaro cost

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. From the gear cost to the tour operator fees, the costs of climbing Kilimanjaro can quickly add up. In this article, I will take you through the real costs of climbing Kilimanjaro and share some personal insights and tips for making the most of your climb.

The Real Costs of Climbing Kilimanjaro

Before you even step foot on the mountain, there are various costs you need to consider. These include:

Gear cost

To climb Kilimanjaro, you need to have the right gear. This includes a good quality sleeping bag, waterproof jacket, hiking boots, and more. Depending on the quality of gear you buy, this can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Airfares & Visa Fees

Getting to Tanzania and obtaining a visa can be costly, depending on your location and travel arrangements. It’s important to factor in these costs when planning your Kilimanjaro climb.

Medical Checkup & Vaccinations

Before you climb Kilimanjaro, you need to ensure that you are in good health and have all the necessary vaccinations. This can be costly, especially if you need to get specific vaccinations that are not covered by your insurance.

Travel Insurance cost

Travel insurance is a must when climbing Kilimanjaro. It’s important to choose a policy that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events.

Tips for your Crew

Tipping your Kilimanjaro crew is an important part of the climbing experience. It’s important to budget for this and ensure that you have enough cash on hand to tip your crew at the end of the climb.

Incidentals before & after your Kilimanjaro climb

Before and after your climb, there are various incidentals that you need to consider. These include accommodation, food, and transportation costs.

Buying a local SIM card

Buying a local SIM card can be a good idea if you want to stay connected during your climb. This can be a cost-effective way to communicate with your friends and family back home.

On The Mountain: Kilimanjaro Prices Explained

Once you are on the mountain, there are various costs that you need to consider. These include:

Group Size

The cost of climbing Kilimanjaro depends on the size of your group. Generally, the more people in your group, the lower the cost per person.

Days on the Mountain

The longer you spend on the mountain, the higher the cost. It’s important to choose a route that suits your budget and time constraints.

Level of Service

The level of service you receive on the mountain can vary depending on the tour operator you choose. Some operators offer basic services, while others offer luxury packages.

Kilimanjaro Route Choice Cost

Different routes have different costs associated with them. The cost can range from $1,500 to $5,000. It’s important to choose a route that suits your budget and level of experience.

Kilimanjaro National Park Fees

There are various fees associated with climbing Kilimanjaro, including park fees and camping fees. The park fees range from $70 to $100 per day, while camping fees range from $50 to $60 per day.

Staff Wages

Your Kilimanjaro crew will need to be paid for their services. It’s important to ensure that you are paying them a fair wage. Wages for guides can range from $20 to $30 per day, while wages for porters can range from $10 to $20 per day.

Food, Water and Transportation cost

Food, water, and transportation costs can add up quickly on the mountain. The cost for food can range from $20 to $50 per day, while the cost for water can range from $5 to $10 per liter. Transportation costs can range from $100 to $300.

Equipment

If you don’t have your own equipment, you will need to rent it. This can be costly, depending on the quality of the equipment. The cost for renting equipment can range from $200 to $600.

Guide to Climber & Porter to Climber Ratio

The guide to climber and porter to climber ratio can vary depending on the tour operator you choose. It’s important to choose an operator that offers a fair ratio. A fair ratio is typically 1 guide to every 2-3 climbers and 1 porter to every climber.

Tipping guides and porters

Tipping your guides and porters is an important part of the climbing experience. It’s important to budget for this and ensure that you have enough cash on hand to tip your crew at the end of the climb. Tipping can range from $200 to $500 per climber.

CategoryCost Range
Group SizeLower cost per person w/ more people
Days on the MountainHigher cost for longer duration
Level of ServiceVaries depending on tour operator
Kilimanjaro Route Choice$1,500 to $5,000
Kilimanjaro National Park Fees$70 to $100 per day for park fees, $50 to $60 per day for camping fees
Staff Wages$20 to $30 per day for guides, $10 to $20 per day for porters
Food, Water, and Transportation Cost$20 to $50 per day for food, $5 to $10 per liter for water, $100 to $300 for transportation
Equipment$200 to $600 for renting equipment
Guide to Climber & Porter to Climber Ratio1 guide to every 2-3 climbers and 1 porter to every climber
Tipping guides and porters$200 to $500 per climber

After The Climb

After your climb, there are various costs to consider. These include:

The Human Cost of Cheap Kilimanjaro Operators

Booking a cheap Kilimanjaro operator can come at a cost. In some cases, these operators mistreat their porters and offer inadequate safety policies.

Guides & Porters

Your guides and porters will need to be paid for their services. It’s important to ensure that you are paying them a fair wage and tipping them appropriately.

Your Safety & Well being

It’s important to take care of yourself after your climb. This may include medical checkups, massages, and other treatments.

My Recommendation For The Best Kili Tour Operators

Choosing the right tour operator is crucial when climbing Kilimanjaro. In this section, I will share my recommendations for the best luxury, mid-tier, and budget Kilimanjaro operators.

Best Luxury Kilimanjaro Operators

If you’re looking for a luxury Kilimanjaro experience, there are various operators that offer high-end services. Our recommendations include:

Tour OperatorRouteDurationStarting Price
Abercrombie & KentLemosho9 days$7,995
Micato SafarisLemosho8 days$7,995
Thomson SafarisMachame7 days$4,995

These tour operators offer luxury Kilimanjaro experiences. Prices vary depending on the duration of the climb and the route taken. Abercrombie & Kent and Micato Safaris both offer climbs on the Lemosho route, while Thomson Safaris offers the Machame route.

Best Mid-Tier Tour Operators

For those looking for a mid-tier Kilimanjaro experience, there are various options available. Our recommendations include:

Tour OperatorRouteDurationStarting Price
Kilimanjaro Trekking GuidesMachame6 days$1,900
Zara ToursAll routes7 days$1,750
Altezza TravelAll routes7 days$1,650

The mid-tier Kilimanjaro tour operators recommended are Kilimanjaro Trekking Guides on the Machame route for 6 days starting at $1,900, Zara Tours on all routes for 7 days starting at $1,750, and Altezza Travel on all routes for 7 days starting at $1,650.

Best Budget Kilimanjaro Operators

If you’re on a budget, there are various operators that offer affordable Kilimanjaro climbs. Our recommendations include:

Tour OperatorRouteDurationStarting Price
Kilimanjaro BrothersAll routes5 days$1,150
Kilimanjaro WondersAll routes6 days$1,100
Kilimanjaro VikingsAll routes6 days$1,050

The budget Kilimanjaro tour operators recommended are Kilimanjaro Brothers for all routes for 5 days starting at $1,150, Kilimanjaro Wonders for all routes for 6 days starting at $1,100, and Kilimanjaro Vikings for all routes for 6 days starting at $1,050.

Why You Should Care About Porter Abuse

As someone planning to climb Kilimanjaro, I believe it is important to choose a tour operator that treats their porters fairly and pays them a fair wage. Porter abuse is a serious issue on the mountain, and it’s up to us as climbers to do our part in ensuring that those who help us make it to the top are treated with respect and dignity. By choosing a responsible operator that values their staff, we can help make a positive impact and contribute to a better experience for everyone involved.

The Balance Between Price and Service

When you plan to climb Kilimanjaro, it’s essential to find a balance between the price and service. It might be tempting to choose the cheapest operator, but this could come at a significant cost. Remember that your safety and well-being should be your top priority. You’ll want to find an operator that pays fair wages to their staff and provides adequate safety policies. Choosing a responsible operator that values their staff can help make a positive impact and contribute to a better experience for everyone involved.

Conclusion

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a bucket list experience that requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. By understanding the real costs of climbing Kilimanjaro and choosing the right tour operator, you can make the most of your climb and have a truly unforgettable experience.

Kilimanjaro Travel Planning Cheatsheet

 

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Tanzania?

100% YES! — Tanzania has now introduceed “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens! Tourists need travel insurance in case anything happens on your visit. Also be aware many policies won't cover high altitude hiking as it's a high risk activity!

(that's right, check the t&c's on your complimentary credit card insurance

I highly recommend World Nomads as you can get specific add-ons for high altitude hiking UP TO 6000m (Which most travel insurance companies don't offer!)

🎫 Do I need a visa for Tanzania?

Probably not — Tanzania now provide a visa on arrival (VoA) for most western countires which allows you stay for up to 90 days. However, some other countries do need a pre-approved eVisa (check here!). VoAs cost $50 USD for a single entry - Note, US Citizens are required to get a Multi-Entry visa which costs $100 USD. (View visa prices here)

If transiting through Kenya (a lot of people fly via Nairobi), you'll need a Kenyan visa too. Visa's cost $20 for a 3 day transit visa and $50 for a toursit visa

(By the way, on both my interactions with the imigration officers in kenya they tried to scam me, so know what your obliged to pay and BRING THE EXACT CASH for the visa!)

💉Do I need any vaccinations for Tanzania?

YES! Make sure you are up-to-date with all your vaccines. Common travel vaccines include Hep A/B + Typhoid, and Diphtheria + Tetanus.

A yellow fever vaccination isn't a requirment to visit Kilimanjaro but is for neighbouring areas in East Africa. In reality, you will might not be allowed back into your home country on your return (I was asked for proof of vaccination upon returning to Australia) so getting this jab prior made for good peace of mind. 

Rabies is an issue in Tanzania but the vaccine is expensive and ineffective as a preventative measure (it only lasts a few years and you'll need to get them again if you require treatment). If bitten by a stray dog seek immediate medical attention!

As always, talk to your GP or specialised travel doctor a few weeks BEFORE you leave.

🏩 What’s the best Kilimanjaro Tour operators?

Your only realy two options here are Kumano Travel and Booking.com. Its a complicated process so I wrote this guide here on the best kumano kodo accomodation options

If you don't want to figure it all out (it's meant to be a holiday after all) you can book a package tour. Here are my recommendations for both guided and self-guided.

💸How do you pay for things in Tanzania?

Cash is king in Tanzania, so you'll want to get some folding tender out from an ATM when you land. Larger businesses and hotels will take Debit / Credit Card but most resturants, and street vendors want cash. I even had to pay for my Kili trip in cash!

I personally use a Wise debit card for all my international money needs as they only convert the funds when you make payment, plus they offer a much better spread (margin on the true exhange rate) than the banks do. They work in all the Tanzanian ATMs I tried. 

🚌 What's the public transport like in Tanzania?

There is a good basic network of local and inter-city busses in Tanzania and travel this way is very cheap. Domestic flight are also very affordable and a far more comfortable option. Checkout Busbora for booking bus tickets online.

📲 How do I get internet/data/wifi in Tanzania and on the mountain?

This one needs a whole nother article, but the short version is prepaid SIM cards are cheap and availible to tourists and locals alike (You don't need a pricey tourst SIM!)

Your cheapest option is buying a physical sim card on the street corner once landed and getting the shop assistant to help you set it up. I went with Vodacom and had generally good coverage, even up on Kili!

Another option if you're visiting other African countries is the Airalo eSIM. This is a little more expensive but gives you connectivity across 14 neighbouring African Countries and connectivity the moment you step off the plane!

✈️ What’s the best site to buy flights to Tanzania?

For finding cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner. Once you find the flight you're looking for, I'd then suggest booking directly with the carrier (even if it costs a few $$ more than with one of the agreggators/agencies).

💧Can you drink the water in Tanzania?

Safest not to — tap water in Tanzania may be OK (the locals drink it) but is generally untreated and not reccommended for tourists. Purchase bottled water for drinking and teeth brushing.

🏔️💧Can you drink the water on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Yes — Your tour company with ensure the water provided to you is safe to drink by either carrying in bottled water, or by treating stream water with purification tablets or by boiling it. If you want to drink water from the rivers and streams you generally can but should do so at your own risk. ALWAYS follow best practice and drink from fast flowing water as far up stream as possible. I'd also recommend a Brita Water Bottle for rehydrating on the trail safely. 

 

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